The journey continues. God milk? The next elementary teaching the writer of Hebrews mentions (the “milk”), is “instruction about cleansing rites”. This phrase uses the Greek word, “baptismos” which of course is where we get the word “baptism”. Baptism is simply an outward sign of an inner reality in our life and in our hearts.
Baptism first begins with a decision in our lives…… the decision to follow Christ. This is the inner reality. The outward sign is the action of being immersed in the water. This symbolizes our old selves dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection and a new life. Baptism is that symbol of a Spiritual cleansing in our life.
Hebrews 6:1-3 (TNIV)
1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,[or about baptisms] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
If you are interested in being baptized, please contact me.
The next elementary teaching the writer of Hebrews mentions (the “milk”), is “the laying on of hands”. Let’s look a little closer at the “laying on of hands”. In ancient days there were three primary purposes for the laying of hands.
The first is to transfer sin. In ancient Israel the Hebrews, or the Jews, would lay hands on an animal to transfer their sin. This, of course, was all changed with the new Covenant–Jesus was the sacrifice that has taken away our sin.
Leviticus 16:21-22 (TNIV)
21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites–all their sins–and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.
The second purpose for the “laying of hands” is to confer a blessing. We do this often as an Elder team when someone is sick and we pray for them or as a congregation when someone is leaving and we pray for them.
The last purpose for the “laying of hands” is to set someone apart for ministry. We do this when we ordain a pastor or an elder in the church. This practice reaches from the Old Testament to today.
These are all elementary teachings, the “milk”. Soon we will talk about the “meat” of our faith.